May 31, 2014
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan could not be a happier man after seeing the Elephants through to the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Pahang defeated Johor Darul Takzim (1-0) in what Zainal referred to as a “nerve-wrecking” FA Cup semifinal second leg at the Darul Makmur Stadium. The teams drew 1-1 in Larkin earlier in the month, giving Pahang a 2-1 win on aggregate.
The players and fans celebrated as if they had won the trophy but Zainal explained why.
“We wanted to redeem ourselves for last year’s exit so badly. It was heart breaking to lose to JDT at the same stage last year. That’s why everyone was celebrating like they did.
“My legs were shaking for 90 minutes. It was surely a nerve-wrecking game and I am delighted my boys showed character to soldier on despite the absence of several regulars.
“Everyone worked hard and gave their 100 percent as asked by Pahang FA president Tengku Muda of Pahang Tengku Abdul Rahman Ahmad Shah. I have to thank him for inspiring the players.
“We were disciplined throughout the match, both when defending and attacking, and had a brilliant attitude on the field,” said Zainal.
Pahang’s goal on the night came after central midfielder Faizol Hussin, who replaced suspended Azidan Sarudin in the line-up, unleased a shot that had the words “goal” written all over it in the 81st minute. The ball went beyond Izham Tarmizi Roslan’s reach into the top corner of the goal, sending the Darul Makmur Stadium crazy.
Pahang await the winner of the Felda-Kelantan clash in the final, which would be held at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on June 7.